In what was formerly a true food desert, 25 Vineland corner stores now sell and promote affordable, nutritious food to residents. Live Healthy Vineland introduced the Food Trust’s Healthy Corner Store Initiative in 2011. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the initiative which is helmed by the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA and the Vineland Health Department in partnership with the American Heart Association.
Vineland’s Healthy Corner Stores benefit from consultation with The Food Trust and Live Healthy Vineland. Store owners receive advice on effective ways to display and promote healthy foods, and they can apply to purchase freezers and other equipment when grants become available.
Not content to stop with Vineland, Live Healthy Vineland recruited corner stores in the three counties served by the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA. They also included restaurants and food pantries in the network: 12 local pantries now receive fresh produce from Ploch Farms and the Community Food Bank of NJ.
The newest expansion is turning more Healthy Corner Stores into Community Hubs. The Community Hubs give citizens access to services that improve health and the quality of daily living, aiding citizens who would normally have limited or no access to these providers.
The Downtown Deli is the flagship location for Community Hub. Two to three times a week (typically Monday and Wednesday from 1pm to 4pm) the Community Hub presents a three-hour event that will engage customers, such as health screenings (blood pressure, diabetes), risk assessments, the chance to register for classes and support groups, enrollment for services like WIC or Medicaid/Medicare, or applications for free tobacco cessation products and services. Each event attracts 35 to 60 residents.
In June, Community Hub hosted a Gun Safety event with multiple wellness providers and law enforcement chaplains who gave out gun safety locks and information on safe gun ownership. In July, Community Hub held its first-ever job fair where local employers took applications and conducted on-site interviews. Residents could also print their resumes and apply for jobs online.
Community Hub Participants: Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, American Heart Association, The City of Vineland Health Department, BB&T Bank, Cumberland County College, CompleteCare, Men’s Health & Prostate Cancer Awareness Support Group, PathStone Corporation, Cornerstone Women’s Resource Center, SERV (Services for Empowering Rights of Victims), Gateway Community Action Partnership, ActiveDay, Inspira, Total Family Solutions, NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.SHARE: